Infrastructure capacity planning

Welcome to the world of DEPLOY!

An immersive capacity planning training game for you to experience online or in person. Develop a winning combination of strategy and tactics as you expand your infrastructure to meet the needs of your company.

Our fictional characters, below, will help to guide you on your learning journey

  • Plan and implement your capacity needs

  • Generate business value by deploying projects to your server-room or to the cloud

  • Develop the skills within your team

  • Add technologies to automate and improve your capabilities​

  • Carefully manage your license footprint

  • Optimise your costs through life-cycling and workload balancing

I learned how to maximize the business value without overstretching my budget demands

John's Insight: Sustainable value

I learned about cost drivers and how to manage them.

I especially focused on software licensing

Malin's Insight: Cost control

I learned how to build up my team to deliver more without overloading them through a mix of training and technology

Sven's Insight: Effective efficiency

I learned to optimise my hardware life-cycling to get the best balance of operating costs and performance

Karen's Insight: Keeping up to date

 

IT capacity management in brief

As businesses go about their activities they typically generate a workload on the IT environment, this is their demand. IT capacity management is tasked with ensuring that there is sufficient IT capacity to meet the business demand when it is needed and at the right price. Coupled with this is the idea of demand management which ensures that the demand does not exceed the available IT capacity. Both operate in tandem to balance the supply-demand equation in an efficient manner.

Thumbnail of the rules for Game-changing Insight's IT capacity planning game, DEPLOY!
Box for the trainer collection of business strategy games Total-IT

IT infrastructure capacity planning with DEPLOY!

Explore the challenging world of IT capacity planning, cost optimisation and license management through the business strategy game of DEPLOY! 

 

Multi-layered learning

Whether your goal is general training, sales activities or simply providing an amazing group activity, this simulation game delivers the perfect immersive experience online or in person.

Each game will typically last around 3 hours and support groups of 3 to 12 participants. When playing the game repeatedly, each time you return you will be better able to keep all the plates spinning and focus more on developing winning strategy and tactics.

 

Sustainable business value

In the game, you need to deploy projects to meet your company's expansion and modernisation drive and to generate much needed business value without risking your budget. 

Cost control

Understanding your cost drivers and how to control them is crucial to a proactive approach where you are in control of your budget. Not easy at first but once understood, your cost awareness becomes fundamental to your thinking and planning.

 

Develop your team for effective efficiency

To become more effective you will need to utilise staff from other areas, train them up and add new technologies. To win, you need to create the most business value for the company.

Keeping your hardware up to date

It is a balancing act between using the latest, most up to date hardware in your server room and the disruption caused by life cycling. This is yet another thread of understanding that will gradually become part and parcel of your thinking process.

ITIL

This IT capacity planning game introduces a number of ITIL practices including a heavy focus on deployment management, infrastructure and platform management, and capacity and performance management.

DEPLOY! is available both as a physical and online game.

IT infrastructure capacity planning online at Tabletopia - DEPLOY!
 

Key elements of DEPLOY!

Plan and implement your capacity needs

Your server room has three technical platforms, each of which can support two of the three types of workload needed to run the projects.

Also each platform operates slightly differently insofar as its costs from support and licensing and also how workloads can be moved around within the platform.

You decide on what tactics you will adopt to build up and manage the capacity in the various platforms. You can of course use the capacity in the public cloud but this also has a cost. though without the need to manage it.

As the game progresses, the technology improves and you get more capacity for your money, but you also need to remove the older less effective capacity from earlier in the game.

The three technical platforms available to you in your server room

Develop the skills within your team

Your team is competent enough but it can't harm to give them some additional skills to help them in their job.

You can choose to train them up as planners, technical writer, designer or software asset management. Each skill brings with it changes in cost, performance or capability that can give you the edge over the other players.

Example of one of the skill tiles used in the DEPLOY! game. This one reduces the amount of work needed to deploy a project through the use of careful planning

Add technologies to automate and improve your capabilities

As well as training your staff, you also have the option of adding new technologies for your staff to use, delivering more for less effort. Technological solutions do however have an operational cost to take into account

You can choose to add automation when deploying each of the different workload types or you can add an asset control solution that will make your licensing more optimised.

Example of one of the technology tiles used in the DEPLOY! game. This one allows you to reduce the effort needed to deploy purple workloads.

Gain value and income when you Deploy projects

Each of the projects in the game, represent a simplified solution with cubes for the workloads needed to run the solution. In this simplified view, a workload can be interpreted as a single server of a standard configuration (CPU, memory).

All projects can be deployed into your server-room and most can be deployed into the public cloud. It is your choice as to where to deploy.

If deploying into your server-room you must have enough existing capacity available for the associated workloads.

Example of a project card from DEPLOY! Each card represents an IT solution (Warehousing in this case) and the capacity needed to operate it in terms of workloads - here we have one blue, one purple and one yellow as indicated in the middleof the card.

Carefully manage your license footprint

DEPLOY! incorporates the three main licensing approaches; licensing the individual machine, licensing the host on which a virtual machine is placed or licensing all the hosts in a cluster. As mentioned above, in DEPLOY!, each workload is equivalent to a virtual machine or server.

Because of the different license models, the operational cost of your licenses can vary dramatically and it is your challenge to keep this cost as low as possible by carefully distributing your workloads across your technical platform pools.

Optimise your costs through life-cycling and workload balancing

As mentioned in the first point of this section, the technology that you can use to add capacity to your server rooms improves over the course of the game. 

From time to time, you need to replace old technology with new, bigger, more cost effective options. To do this you must first create capacity to free up the old technology and then remove the old capacity. Depending on the platform, you may need to move your workloads around before you do this. Careful planning is needed to ensure that you can complete all your planned work before you need to pay the license fees, otherwise you will need to license something that you are not using.

 

The DEPLOY! scenario

The company for which you work has started on an ambitious modernization and expansion programme, focusing heavily on replacing their outdated IT systems.

 

A large number of projects have been created by the powers that be. Some of them could help to fund your department, others will add real business value to the company but may not help so much in your running costs. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about the business value.

Your mission

You are tasked to provide and manage the infrastructure needed to host a number of projects, which may generate income and business value for hosting their workloads. You are managing a small data centre and have access to a limited team of people. The end goal is to be the team that delivers the most business value.

Your server-room

With the workforce at your disposal, you decide which projects to deploy and host. You must constantly strive to reduce the operating cost per unit of workload through careful management of the hardware, available resources and workload placement. You also have the option of deploying to the public cloud.

Your workforce

All teams start with a basic workforce but can increase their team by transferring people from other activities. This impacts your ability in these other activities but extends your scope for hosting projects.

Your capability

Your team can also develop its capabilities through technology, automation and training to help make your chosen strategy more effective.

 

DEPLOY! and IT capacity planning in the context of Total-IT

DEPLOY! represent the bottom, infrastructure, layer of the Total-IT simulation stack. Even though the capacity management business strategy game is intended for independent use, it is woven into the complete Total-IT simulation space with definable dependencies to/from the other layers.

This adds a richness to the experience and to the associated training delivered through the game.

You receive money from head office according to income value of your deployed projects

The licenses used by your server-room are bought centrally but charged back to you so you must cover the cost of your installations

Technology companies provide automation to improve the capabilities of the infrastructure layer

Hardware suppliers bring next generation equipment to the infrastructure layer, boosting its capacity

Cloud providers deliver an alternative capacity source.

Training companies provide courses to improve the skills at the infrastructure layer

Life-cycling generates a new version of a solution which a product team submits as a project for deployment

 

DEPLOY! - Under the hood

In DEPLOY!, the company has created a number of new projects each having supported by a particular workload. Players deploy the workloads needed by these projects to gain money and business value.

Each of your IT technical platforms delivers the capability to support certain workload types which in turn allow the projects to be deployed. The amount of workload supported by each platform is managed by adding and removing capacity. Workloads can be moved around or re-balanced between the platforms to minimise the operational costs.

Staff can be trained with extra skills as planners, technical writers, software asset managers or designers.

You can also add new technology to automate your deployment of the project workloads or to reduce your licensing costs with an asset control system.

 

Each player’s board represents a server-room with three capacity pools (A, B and C) supporting a different mix of workloads. The main board is used to track the progress of the game as well as each player’s worker usage, income and business value points. It also holds the available capacity cards (pool ‘A’ and pool ‘B’) and the available projects.

 

The game runs over five rounds, after which, the winning player is the one that has the most business value; earned from deployed projects, running an optimised server-room and supporting cloud deployments. 

A separate version of DEPLOY! is also available for personal use. This includes additional components for great replayability. The videos below show a brief introduction and how to play.